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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Banksy, No Future

For music lovers everywhere there is a special music edition of poetrycrush

This music edition features essays by the best writers around on: Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, Cass McCombs, Will Oldham-aka-Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Pixies, Cowboy Junkies, The Mountain Goats, Joanna Newsom, Nina Simone, Leonard Cohen, Tori Amos and Martha Wainwright. It's a who's who: check it: www.poetrycrush.com

Below is my contribution to poetrycrush's music issue on guess who? That's right, Radiohead.

RADIOHEAD

Many people whose opinion I admire say that Radiohead’s lyrics are weak. Not so, mon frère. Radiohead is composed of mad genius poets. Their lyrics do stand up on the page, though admittedly an entirely new form of language is created when joined with their music and Thom’s warbling. I chose “Idioteque” at random knowing I wanted something off of Kid A. There is an homage to the Dadaist poet Tristan Tzara on this album, and the band has admitted to using his method of cutting up lyrics and arranging the songs by drawing words out of a hat. As a poet and editor, I find this immensely satisfying. There is even a made up word in “Idioteque:” skwrking, at least in the lyrics I’ve found.
“Idioteque” is a timeless piece that encompasses the destructive force of wars, both past and present, and looks toward a future desolate landscape wrought by our need to consume unabated. The repetition of “women and children first” reminds me of piling into lifeboats, like on the Titanic.  For me, “Idioteque” embodies the breakdown of reason inherent in any war, or in anyone who holds a gun and shoots it at another living being.
Who’s in bunker, who’s in bunker?
Women and children first
Women and children first
Women and children
I’ll laugh until my head comes off
I swallow till I burst
Until I burst
Until I..
Who’s in bunker, who’s in bunker
I’ve seen too much
I haven’t seen enough
You haven’t seen enough
I’ll laugh until my head comes off
Women and children first
And children first
And children..
Here I’m allowed, everything all of the time
Here I’m allowed, everything all of the time
Ice age coming, ice age coming
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both..
Ice age coming, ice age coming
Throw me in the fire
Throw me in the fire
Throw me in the..
We’re not scaremongering
This is really happening, happening
We’re not scaremongering
This is really happening, happening
Mobiles working
Mobiles chirping
Take the money and run
Take the money and run
Take the money..
Here I’m allowed, everything all of the time
Background:  (The first of the children)

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